May 3, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

The 20th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ICSMGE 2022) is taking place at ICC Sydney this week, with 1,300 delegates, including 840 in person, more than 600 of which are international attendees.

The event is the first with a large international delegation physically present since the pandemic closed Australia’s border more than two years ago.

Attendees from over 70 countries will be at the conference, with the largest international contingents from the USA and South Korea.

The conference is being managed by ICMS Australasia with support from Business Events Sydney and Business Events Australia.

“It is wonderful that the leading geotechnical engineers in the world have come together to share new important research and what is equally encouraging from a conference organiser’s perspective is that the majority are choosing to do so in-person,” said ICMS Australasia managing director Emma Bowyer.

“The ICC Sydney is the perfect backdrop for international delegates to experience our city and we are expecting many more events of this nature over the coming years.”

The conference was originally scheduled for late 2021, but was delayed to May 2022 to allow for international delegates to attend in person.

According to the conference chair and former Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Engineering at the University of Newcastle, Emeritus Professor John Carter, the conference was secured for Australia after six attempts.

“We’ve shown that Australians are nothing if not persistent,” he said.

“A major conference legacy that ICSMGE 2022 can be proud of is that over 25 per cent of our attendees are young professionals and geotechnical engineers. The learning and networking opportunities we are providing are likely to be as profound in many years to come as they are now.”

BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis Smith said there would be a considerable benefit for the local soil mechanics to have the conference hosted in Sydney.

“Our research has demonstrated the significant impact hosting these prestigious global events on home soil can have for the acceleration and growth of Australian industry, exposing local experts to world’s best practice, building global connections, attracting investment, fast-tracking research collaborations and showcasing Sydney opportunities to entice global talent here,” she said.

“This is the first time the global soil mechanics community has gathered in Australia, providing a platform to showcase our local expertise in finding solutions to the technical challenges of extracting and transporting large quantities of natural resources.”